Undeterred by breezy conditions and forecasted light rain, 10 adventurous riders -- Sonny, Dean P., Barry, Chris D., John J., Caleb, Scott, Roscoe, and Chad rolled out of Fruitland for the final ride of March. A last-minute change put the group on last week’s course, meaning that the first half of the night would be spent embracing a stiff SW wind that was gusting up to 29 mph (according to the National Weather Service’s weather observations at the airport). But who can complain when it’s over 60F?

From the gun, the ride was unforgiving. Caleb got caught out at the start and, despite a little help from Roscoe and Steve, was under pressure for the rest of the ride. Chad was the next to feel the wrath of the crosswinds as the train motored down Stevens. The expected sparring on Sand Road put many riders under pressure, but everyone held tough. The unexpected appearance of logging truck straddling the road both kept the group on its toes, and provided a welcome respite from the pace.

The group kept things rolling through Furnace Town as it finally enjoyed a favorable wind. Some accelerations up the slopes of Old Furnace would eventually claim a few more victims as Barry, John J., and Caleb finally lost contact. The remaining six would fight cross-winds up Meadowbridge, while a few attacks off the front failed to get any traction. By this time the skies were darkening and Mother Nature generously provided a bit of moisture to cool down and refresh our heros for their final surge to the line. With about 1k to go, Roscoe launched one last acceleration. Dean caught the wheel and the duo had the separation they needed. After one rotation, Dean took the underpass honors with Roscoe on his wheel and Steve filling out the podium a few seconds behind.

Excluding the 6 mile warmup, the 26 mile course was completed in just under 1 hr 5 min for an average speed of about 24.2 mph. A little slower than last week, but given the conditions, not bad! Great ride, OVC!